This is one of a few albums I have listened to recently that would benefit from a review delivered in flow chart format. This is because the content and quality are so wildly schizophrenic that it seems unlikely that they could either totally alienate or entirely attract a single average human being. I discovered Red Cosmos (with his compadre Gwilly Edmondez) on the hilarious “Balls” which got played on Dandelion Radio and was essentially a comedy single about balls and how they roll everywhere. It stayed in my head for days because it had an extremely catchy hook which was deeply stupid but if music stays in your head then it’s a success on some level, even if it’s not symbiotic.
Red Cosmos has struck out on his own with this deeply eccentric, totally English album of midi synth pop and it’s highly peculiar from the start. The drum programming could (for the most part) be on a Casio keyboard. His voice is a strange, adenoidal and flat but that makes it sound charmless which it isn’t, just an acquired taste. Midway through “St.Albans Colour Explosion” (a bossanova paean to life in posh England in the 80’s) a choral sample suddenly appears with bits of a vicar’s sermon. It’s mental and left me speechless. I still can’t decide if its surreal and tasteless or well placed.
“Cross Your Heart” is a guitar led ballad which is a bit like Howard Jones playing a Hot Chip cover and it’s sort of nice but also immensely cheesy. Red can write songs but his production choices are truly bewildering. He can write lyrics but he can’t really sing. He makes a song that is actually quite touching and then makes it impossible to listen to by including a sample of someone crying.
Multiple paradox arise even in one song. When people hear “You Said You Loved Me” they’re going to say to themselves “Kim you’re a fucking twat and you’ve lost it” because everything about it screams “cheesy bollocks” but it works goddamit. It’s full of the sort of inaccuracies and mistakes that the record industry so ruthlessly flattened out but that’s why it’s ended up with such a lifeless bunch of over sexualized and under educated cock botherers on its books.
I could go on and on about this album. I don’t even know where to start with “I Am The Local DJ” a truly awful and irredeemably bad piece of music that is based round an 80’s style drum loop, another choral sample and some really inadvisable sampler action the likes of which you haven’t heard since 1982. “England’s Glory” starts promisingly but then he starts singing the chorus in such a ghastly contrived style that I am forced to throw my headphones across the room and slap my own ears. But for moments like these I am repaid for my hard work with the bizarre and insanely cheery “Do Geese See God ?” which sounds like a fucked up copy of one of those weird plastic records you got for kids that played nursery rhymes. “Iron Rush” is just embarrassing but “I Decided To Love You” is a piece of pure John Shuttleworth inspired magic with the fantastic chorus “I decided to love you….you decided to leave” which has the best keyboard trumpet solo ever.
Much as I admire this cosmopolitan approach to creation, the highs and lows pretty much cancel each other out….but that does not mean it is in any way an average album, just very difficult to adjudicate.